A Key Part of the Supply Chain Facing Difficulties
For anyone who has worked with a company, ordered a product online or gone to a restaurant in the last year, it is clear that every sector is facing new challenges in the way they conduct business. The reasons for this upheaval include fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, the highest inflation rate in 30 years, and the natural growing pains of a world in transition from physical to digital.
As an integral part of the supply chain, packaging companies are not immune to these problems. But, what are the main issues and how can we solve them?
#1: Staffing Issues
The good news for the packaging industry is the market cap grew 14.4% in 2020, reaching $12.3 billion. Projections for the next few years are just as robust. However, many companies currently lack the workforce able to keep pace with demand. Concerns about the lingering virus, a spike in early retirees and a downturn in immigration are creating unfavorable conditions for employers. However, the job market is beginning to rebound. 1.6 million people said they were not looking for work because of the pandemic in September; that number fell to 1.3 million in October.
#2: Lack of Time
Time is money! Despite packaging companies working extended hours and even overnight, they cannot match the timing expectations from clients. Delivery times are down around the world with many fears that products will not arrive in time for the holiday season, just weeks away at time of writing. While packaging companies cannot work around the logistics of a ship blocking the Suez Canal, there are ways in your factory or warehouse that you can increase your own efficiency. This includes improving communication between departments and clients, simplifying your packaging design and leaning into automation.
#3: Incorporating Technology
While the first two challenges we’ve discussed lean heavily into current events, the final three are evergreen issues that the packaging industry has been working to overcome since its inception.
Technology has been a key part of the packaging industry, ever since Margaret Knight received her patent for the flat-bottomed bag machine in the 1870’s. Now, instead of wood and screws, the prevailing technology that can bring your operation to the 21st century relies on wires and chips. The cost can be high to transition your warehouse to a state-of-the-art or cloud-based workflow, but the money spent now will save time and increase profits in the future.
Sometimes there’s simply no way around mistakes made during the printing process: incorrect expiration dates, color errors, etc. Unfortunately, one of the biggest costs often neglected during the budgeting phase is reprinting graphics, barcodes and information on packaging.
By re-evaluating what coding technology you are using to print on your packaging, you might be able to save cost on your initial run—and, in some cases, completely prevent the need to re-print. Likewise, using a Continuous Ink Jet (CIJ) coding technology can be easy on your wallet for high volume projects that need to be reprinted.
We round out our top five problems with a factor packaging companies have long been aware of s and will remain a pressing issue long after we are gone. There is no doubt that sustainability can often come at a financial cost and some companies aren’t willing to sacrifice the convenience of single use plastics with the end goal of sustainability. Pressure from consumers is the main driving force behind the need to think beyond the initial shelf life of product packaging. Don’t forget: the customer is always right!
Especially in the wake of the COP26 summit in Europe and the surprising agreement climate agreement between the U.S. and China, it can behoove companies to re-evaluate their sustainability practices ahead of regulations that will surely be announced in the near future.
GCB Solutions has the experience and the resources to help you through any packaging problems you may be facing. Whether you are just beginning the design process or looking to make that final push to launch, we can help.
Call us at (904) 263-2804 or schedule a free consultation, today!